Once there was a very crafty predator named Lou Siffer. He was a real snake. His favorite prey was the sheep of the Chief Shepherd.
Some of the tricks Lou used to get at them were tempting them, accusing them, and frightening them. Since the Chief Shepherd's Instructions warned the undershepherds and sheep about Lou's weapons, Lou usually had the best success when he was able to divert the attention of all from those Instructions.
For example, the Instructions said -
"If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."
In another place, the Instructions said -
"And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed."
When the undershepherds and sheep remembered these Instructions, there was open, constructive communication about even difficult matters. When they ignored them, Lou and his accomplice jumped for joy.
Oh, didn't I tell you about Lou Siffer's accomplice, Mr. Phleshe? He was kind of an ugly tumor. When these important Instructions (which had healing power) were obeyed, Mr. Phleshe went into remission, and Lou into frustration. When they were ignored, the cancers of rumor, suspicion, and division began to eat away at the body, and Lou had a field day.
Of course, the Chief Shepherd, a very, very wise Man, knew all about the problems which the sheep and undershepherds faced. He knew about Lou Siffer and Mr. Phleshe. In fact, the Chief Shepherd used these enemies in spite of themselves. His Instructions even included an illustration of this, it was called "The Book of Job". In this illustration, it was shown how ol' Lou had really done a job on Job, but the Chief Shepherd was in control all the time!
The goal of Lou Siffer and Mr. Phleshe was to steal, kill, and destroy, but the Chief Shepherd's goal was to purify and refine. The Chief Shepherd wanted both undershepherds and sheep to obey His Instructions implicitly, and to use their special Hotline to talk Him directly about any situation, big or small. He wanted them all to trust Him more and more, and to love one another even when it was hard.
He was making them all ready to live for His glory eternally together, in perfect bliss, in the Great Pasture in the Sky. The grass was definitely always greener there, even though it wasn't always so in the various pastures below.
Begone, Lou Siffer! Begone, Mr. Phleshe! The Chief Shepherd has said -
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
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